“RUN! GO! KEEP GOING!”
Jake winced as his favorite receiver got hit hard on the side, getting pushed out of bounds about thirty yards from the end zone. Still, it was a good catch-and-run. They should be able to punch it in from here. Which was good since they really had to score a touchdown. The score was 35 to 31 and his team was down. And with only ninety seconds left, now was the time.
Jake barely looked up as the men lined up for the next play, the high-definition television making a clear enough picture for Jake to check who was on the field for the offense.
“I need to talk to you.”
“Uh hun,” Jake muttered as the ball was snapped. His breath caught as the line started to break down around his quarterback, but smiled as the ball was sent spiraling through the air. Caught! The receiver got about fifteen yards before getting hit out of bounds. Still, it was a good play.
No longer distracted by the play and having forty seconds until the next one, Jake looked up at his boyfriend. Gavin was standing by the couch with a worried look on his face. There was a hint of anger in his green eyes, but Jake wasn’t surprised to see that. Gavin never understood his love for football.
“Need something, hon? Cause the game is on.”
Gavin opened his mouth to say something before snapping his jaw and shaking his head. “Just forget it,” he muttered as he walked away.
Shrugging, Jake turned back to the game. But somehow, he just couldn’t focus anymore. Gavin looked really upset before, so unlike his happy-go-lucky man. And Gavin knew better than to talk to Jake during one of his games. It must have been pretty important for him to disturb him.
Jake looked back at the screen and sighed. His team had moved forward another five yards and Jake had no idea how. He couldn’t focus, seeing Gavin’s worried face in his mind’s eye.
Shaking his head, Jake got up from his favorite recliner and walked away from the game, something he never thought he could do. Football was his only real hobby. He spent hours studying his team, analyzing opponents and, of course, watching the game. But it just didn’t seem important right now.
Jake’s heart dropped as he heard the sounds of muffled cries as he approached the bedroom he shared with Gavin. Peeking his head around the corner, Jake’s heart broke as he saw Gavin face-down on their bed crying for all it was worth.
His boyfriend turned over and quickly rubbed at his eyes. “I’m okay. Go back to your game.”
Jake knew his man’s broken words were a lie. He was anything but okay. And it made Jake feel more of a jerk than ever.
“Gavin,” Jake called again as he walked farther in the room, sitting next to him on their bed. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m okay. Go back to your game.”
“Not until you tell me what’s wrong,” Jake comforted, placing a gentle hand on his back.
Gavin didn’t say anything. Jake got comfortable on the bed and started to rub soothing circles on his man’s back. He knew that eventually Gavin would start to speak.
It took a little longer than Jake expected, but soon Gavin turned his head out of the pillow and started to talk.
“I got a phone call. My Aunt Mary is in the hospital. They aren’t sure she’s going to make it.”
Jake’s guilt level ratcheted up at Gavin’s teary confession. Damn, he was such an ass. Gavin lived three thousand miles away from his Californian family. He couldn’t just get in the car and see his aunt in a few minutes. He would have to sit and wait by the phone for updates. And knowing how close Gavin was to his entire family, he knew how hard that would be for him.
“Aw, baby. I’m so sorry. What can I do?”
“Can we just sit here?”
Jake nodded and resumed his back rub.
It took a long time for Gavin to calm down, but he did. Through it all, Jake stayed and comforted him. Eventually, they ended up wrapped in a tight cuddle, with Gavin lying on Jake’s chest.
“Thank you, Jake,” Gavin said as the sun fell.
“You don’t have to thank me. I’m always here for you.”
“Still…I’m sorry I had to pull you away from your game. Did your team win?”
Jake paused. He hadn’t even thought about the game since he came in here. Somehow it didn’t matter as much right now. Sure, he cared about his football. It was a huge part of his life. But Gavin had Jake wrapped around his finger. Anything Gavin needed and he would be there, football or not.
“You know, I have no idea,” Jake replied with a small smile.
“Oh, Jake. I’m sorry. Why don’t you go check?”
“Nah. I’m quite comfortable here with you.”
Jake smiled wider as he leaned down to kiss Gavin. “Absolutely.”
Jake kissed Gavin again. Yeah, football may be a part of his life, but Gavin was his whole world. And nothing could ever distract Jake from that.